Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Some Late October Notes from TrumpWorld: Benign Fall Weather Recap, Greenland Halts Its Melt (For Now), & Deconstructing Donald-Speak

A lovely fall forest scene along Pocosin Fire Road in Shenandoah National Park, October 21, 2017.
Photo by Matthew Benson and reposted in this CWG entry.


For the umpteentillionth time, I just didn't have the energy and desire -- indeed, the mojo -- to post a blog entry last night after the gym. About the gym, it was a good multipart workout (jog, weightlifting, and core) ending with a swim.

This followed a reasonably productive day at work that I hope to mimic today. (I'm staying late at the office today -- tonight is a non-gym night.)

Fall morning. 2000 block U Street NW, Washington, D.C., 10:37AM October 24, 2017.

I was going to have this as my lead image but the one I chose not by me is, of course, far nicer.


When I got home, though, I just cooked dinner and watched my late night MeTV line up to include Carol Burnett & Friends, Perry Mason, and The Twilight Zone. I skipped the Alfred Hitchcock Presents and instead surfed around online and had comment section discussions with one of the regular commenters on the CWG (the only one with whom I really care to interact) in this entry.

NWS high-resolution surface weather map for a portion of the eastern United States, valid 12Z October 24, 2017


As for the weather, a cold front swept through proceeded by a very energetic atmosphere and a strong low-level southerly jet last night. The warmth and moisture last night here in late October was really ridiculous: 72F air temp at KDCA with a 68F dew point at 2AM on October 24th. KBWI and KIAD weren't far behind that -- 71F/68F and 68F/67F, respectively.

But this seems to be par for the course these days.

NWS radar mosaic for a portion of the eastern United States looped 10:00PM -10:45PM EDT October 23, 2017.


Despite this abundant moisture, good vorticity, and strong low level jet, the line of squally showers that swept through was underwhelming in terms of rainfall amounts and -- with the exception of Dulles Airport -- very uniform. Also, there really wasn't any lightning associated with it in the Baltimore/Washington region.

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 10:31PM - 11:13PM EDT Oct. 23, 2017.

Despite the radar presentation, it was all underwhelming.


Precipitation amounts overnight were as follows:

KIAD: 0.53"
KBWI: 0.13"
KDCA: 0.13"
KDMH: 0.13"

More seasonable -- that is, fall-like -- weather is forecasted here with 60 to 65F highs and 40 to 45F lows -- for remainder of the week as an upper level trough dominates the eastern half of the U.S.

However, not much (if any) rain is forecasted here until perhaps the weekend -- and even then, it looks like a would-be coastal storm won't form due to lack of northern and southern stream phasing.

Oh, yes, WOODY! of LWX forecaster fame is retiring. He mentioned it in his area forecast discussion write up in the wee hours initially at 4:25AM. He wrote:

Personal note - after 33 years in government and 23 years at LWX. I'm calling it a day. It's been a great honor to serve my country. Thank you.

With Woody gone, how will Sue "Snake Eyes" Palka pretend to forecast the weather now??

There she is ...


By the way, I came across an article in the publication ScienceNordic discussing the health of Greenland's ice sheet in the past year (as measured from Sept. 1, 2016 through Aug. 31, 2017) based upon the annual report from the Danish Meteorological Institute's Polar Portal (link embedded): How the Greenland ice sheet fared in 2017.

The caption to this figure is included in the image; click on this image for larger version.

"SMB" refers to "surface mass budget" -- that is, the mass of the Greenland ice sheet -- and measured in units of gigatonnes -- that is, billions of metric tons.


The takeaway message is that former Hurricane Nicole (later post-tropical cyclone Nicole) in 2016 dumped copious amounts of precipitation (rain and snowfall) on parts of Greenland while the summer 2017 melt season (ablation) was "short and intermittent" -- so that the Greenland ice sheet gained bit this year -- breaking, at least temporarily, its long-term year-on-year relentless decline.

The caption to this figure is included in the image; click on this image for larger version.

The deep blues on the right map show where Greenland gained ice mass between Sept. 1, 2016 and Aug. 31, 2017 -- thanks in significant part to post-tropical cyclone Nicole in late October.


When calving at the edge of Greenland is also considered, the result is the "total mass budget" can be calculated. This too broke with the sharp downward trend since 2002 with a change of about zero -- or maybe even a bit positive.

Since 2002, though, Greenland has lost 3,600 billion metric tons (tonnes) of ice -- that's 3.6 teratonnes (3.6 trillion metric tons) of ice -- contributing to about 1 cm of sea level rise.

Right axis: Ice mass change as measured by the GRACE satellite mission of the Greenland ice sheet in billions of tonnes (Gt); Left axis: Contribution of that ice mass change to sea level rise (in mm) between 2002 and Jan. 2017. 


I am considering reposting this in its entirety in a separate entry. Of course, that means I'll never get around to it.

Speaking of Greenland, the other night -- or rather, just before I woke up yesterday morning -- I dreamed I was flying at night above Rt. 2 Ritchie Highway from Severna Park to Glen Burnie (trying, I guess, to reach my mom's place). Suddenly, I was much higher up over a forested area -- only it morphed into Greenland.

I was looking down on Greenland, except it was sort of a large map with thin snow cover on the northern and southern part and nothing else -- just wet rock / dirty in the middle. And cloudy.  

Aerial view of the Heimdal Glacier* in southern Greenland on October 13, 2015 by NASA Langley Research Center's Falcon 20 aircraft during Operation IceBridge North. 

*Not to be confused with the Heimdall Glacier in Antarctica.


In the dream, after passing over a wealthy, tree-cloaked suburban enclave marking Severna Park, I was flying past an enormous condo building. I turned around and managed to fly into a ground floor restaurant / bar. There was a name on the building but I just can't recall it -- something like "WARSIB".

The Elysium Fourteen condo on 14th Street by U Street NW, Washington, D.C., 10:41AM Oct. 24, 2017.

This is a new condo that went up in the past 18 months or so. Naturally, it has a stupid name. I'm sure all the kitchen countertops are granite.


OK, before I end, I just want to excerpt the ending of a piece by Matthew Yglesias of Vox.com deconstructing Trump's interview this past weekend with Fox News Channel's journalistically kinda useless Maria Bartiromo. The full piece is here (link embedded): Trump's latest big interview is both funny and terrifying.

The images accompanying this are of what was Super-Typhoon Lan in the western Pacific Ocean as seen from the International Space Station taken this past Saturday (Oct. 21st) by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli onboard the ISS Expedition 52/53. Somehow, the images seem relevant. A significantly weakened Lan struck Japan with torrential rain and wind. 

Concluding paragraphs under the header "This is how we live now":

"Over the course of the interview, Trump also claims to be working on a major infrastructure bill, a major welfare reform bill, and an unspecified economic development bill of some kind.

Under almost any other past president, that kind of thing would be considered a huge news-making get for an interviewer.

But even Fox didn't tout Bartiromo's big scoops on Trump's legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, "We're doing a big infrastructure bill," means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill.

The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory."


"On some level, it's a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course.

Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we'll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn't know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven't elected presidents like that -- for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons -- and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there."

On a related hilarious note, here is Jonathan Chait explaining Trump's grand strategy of picking big fights with two Senate Republicans -- that is, his entire margin for error on any legislative achievements -- namely, John McCain and Bob Corker.

The tweets are astonishing Bizarro-World when you remember that this is from the President of the United States about a sitting United States Senator in his own party.


By the way, note that these tweets were commented upon, retweeted, and liked that much -- thousands to tens of thousands for each action -- by the time I captured this image at 1:28PM. If you go to the Chait link, the counts have counted to update.


OK, that's all for now. Next planned entry in a day or two.


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